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NASCAR lineup at Charlotte: Starting order, pole for Sunday’s playoff race without qualifying

The starting lineup for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series playoff race at Charlotte Motor Speedway was set by applying the statistical formula NASCAR is using for the majority of Cup races in 2021.

Drivers’ starting positions for the Bank of America ROVAL 400, the sixth race of the 2021 Cup Series playoffs and the last race in the Round of 12 (2 p.m. ET; NBC, TSN, TSN5, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), were based on four factors:

Driver’s finishing position from the previous race (25 percent)Car owner’s finishing position from the previous race (25 percent)Team owner points ranking (35 percent)Fastest lap from the previous race (15 percent)

NASCAR is conducting qualifying for just eight of the 36 Cup Series points-paying races in the 2021 season. Seven of those races have already been run; the one remaining race with qualifying is the season-ending Championship 4 race at Phoenix Raceway on Nov. 7.

Below is the starting lineup, which was set without qualifying, for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series playoff race on Charlotte Motor Speedway’s 2.28-mile road course, which incorporates most of the main track’s 1.5-mile oval.

MORE: Watch Sunday’s NASCAR race live with fuboTV (free 7-day trial)

Who won the pole for the NASCAR race at Charlotte?

Denny Hamlin, the only driver who has clinched a spot in the Round of 8, will start on the pole. Hamlin was also on the pole for last weekend’s rain-delayed race at Talladega. He locked himself into the Round of 8 with a win at Las Vegas in the first race of the Round of 12.

Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski will be beside Hamlin on the starting grid. Keselowski was challenging Bubba Wallace for the lead at Talladega on Monday before a late caution and then rain ended the race early. Keselowski wound up finishing second to Wallace.

MORE: NASCAR playoffs, explained

The second row will be Keselowski’s teammate Joey Logano in third and Hamlin’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Christopher Bell in fourth.

Per NASCAR’s playoff rules, the top 12 spots in the field went to the 12 remaining playoff drivers, but the starting order was based on the mathematical formula NASCAR has used for the majority of its races this season.

NASCAR Cup playoff standings

Denny Hamlin moved into the lead in the playoff points standings with a seventh-place finish at Talladega. He passed Kyle Larson, who dropped to second after a 37th-place finish brought on by a wreck. Larson also lost a lot of his cushion between his place and the playoff cut line. He’ll enter Sunday 22 points ahead of ninth-place driver Kevin Harvick.

MORE: Wallace reflects on becoming 2nd Black winner in NASCAR Cup Series

The playoff bubble has a lot of pressure on it after Talladega. The difference between sixth place (Ryan Blaney) and ninth (Harvick) is just 15 points. Between the bunched standings, the fact that 11 of the 12 drivers are still fighting for a Round of 8 spot and the Roval’s history of wrecks, Sunday promises more chaos before NASCAR reduces the playoff field by four drivers.  

Pos.
Driver
Points
1
x-Denny Hamlin
3116
2
Kyle Larson
3097
3
Joey Logano
3096
4
Brad Keselowski
3095
5
Martin Truex Jr.
3095
6
Ryan Blaney
3090
7
Chase Elliott
3084
8
Kyle Busch
3084
9
Kevin Harvick
3075
10
Christopher Bell
3056
11
William Byron
3040
12
Alex Bowman
3032

x-Clinched berth in the Round of 8.

NASCAR starting lineup at Charlotte

NASCAR used a mathematical formula to set the starting lineup for Sunday’s playoff race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the Bank of America ROVAL 400. Thirty-nine cars were entered for the race, which is one short of a full field. Playoff drivers are denoted by “P-.”

Start pos.
Driver
Car No.
Team
1
P-Denny Hamlin
11
Joe Gibbs Racing
2
P-Brad Keselowski
2
Team Penske
3
P-Joey Logano
22
Team Penske
4
P-Christopher Bell
20
Joe Gibbs Racing
5
P-Martin Truex Jr.
19
Joe Gibbs Racing
6
P-Ryan Blaney
12
Team Penske
7
P-Kevin Harvick
4
Stewart-Haas Racing
8
P-Chase Elliott
9
Hendrick Motorsports
9
P-Kyle Busch
18
Joe Gibbs Racing
10
P-Kyle Larson
5
Hendrick Motorsports
11
P-William Byron
24
Hendrick Motorsports
12
P-Alex Bowman
48
Hendrick Motorsports
13
Kurt Busch
1
Chip Ganassi Racing
14
Austin Dillon
3
Richard Childress Racing
15
Bubba Wallace
23
23XI Racing
16
Chris Buescher
17
Roush Fenway Racing
17
Erik Jones
43
Richard Petty Motorsports
18
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
47
JTG Daugherty Racing
19
Michael McDowell
34
Front Row Motorsports
20
Anthony Alfredo
38
Front Row Motorsports
21
Aric Almirola
10
Stewart-Haas Racing
22
Chase Briscoe
14
Stewart-Haas Racing
23
Cole Custer
41
Stewart-Haas Racing
24
Ryan Newman
6
Roush Fenway Racing
25
Daniel Suarez
99
Trackhouse Racing
26
Corey LaJoie
7
Spire Motorsports
27
Ross Chastain
42
Chip Ganassi Racing
28
Quin Houff
00
StarCom Racing
29
Tyler Reddick
8
Richard Childress Racing
30
Matt DiBenedetto
21
Wood Brothers Racing
31
Ryan Preece
37
JTG Daugherty Racing
32
Cody Ware
51
Petty Ware Racing
33
AJ Allmendinger
16
Kaulig Racing
34
Garrett Smithley
53
Rick Ware Racing
35
Scott Heckert
78
Live Fast Motorsports
36
Joey Hand
52
Rick Ware Racing
37
Josh Bilicki
15
Rick Ware Racing
38
Justin Haley
77
Spire Motorsports
39
Timmy Hill
66
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